Essential Oil Myths

Essential Oil Myths

Essential oils can be found in the health arsenals of many moms nowadays. And why would it not be? The therapeutic benefits that these essential oils claim are very promising. As parents, we want to provide our children with the safest, and hopefully, more natural alternatives for their health. 

With its proliferation, there have been many exaggerated claims for these oils, which you can find in Facebook groups and even in books. But how do you weed out the myths from the truth? 

Today, let us dive into the most common myths you may encounter:

  1. All essential oils are safe to use regardless of how you use them because they are all-natural. Essential oils are beautiful products of nature, but they should be used with caution and care like anything in this world. While essential oils are amazing products of nature, they have already been ‘artificially’ concentrated through the extraction process. According to the Essential Oil Safety Masterclass, I attended with Robert Tisserand, author of Essential Oil Safety and the founder of Tisserand Institute, the concentration of the essential oil that you have in a bottle is something that you cannot find anywhere in nature. Because it is so concentrated, the power of these essential oils is highly potent, so we need to use them in minimal amounts and safe dilutions, mainly when applied topically on children and to those with hypersensitive skin.
  2. Essential oils will never go bad. This is simply not true. A lot of essential oils, especially citrus oils, would go rancid in a year. This is attributed to the process called oxidation, where oxygen can bond with your oil’s carbon atoms, altering its composition. Because it is already in its altered molecular state, your essential oil may not bring the benefits that you are expecting. One way to test this is to compare your newly-opened orange essential oil to your one-year-old orange oil. You will notice that your ‘aged’ oil does not smell vibrant anymore or may even have an odor that seems quite “off.” Oxidized oils can cause skin irritation.
  3. Essential oils will not cause skin irritation. Many claim that oils cannot cause allergies or skin irritation and attribute to detoxification when rashes appear. This has little to no truth in it. According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), dermal or skin reactions that may occur with essential oils include irritation, sensitization, and phototoxicity/photosensitization. In addition, several oils are highly irritating to the skin, such as lemongrass, oregano, cinnamon bark, and clove to name a few. 
  4. Essential oils are just like their source – they offer vitamins and minerals. Many people substitute their lemon with lemon oil in water, thinking they provide the same vitamins and minerals as the fruit. However, essential oils do not contain any of these nutrients. Essential oils are composed only of chemical components, and in the case of lemon essential oil, d-limonene with very different therapeutic benefits from that of Vitamin C. 
  5. There is only one company that sells therapeutic-grade essential oils. Sad to say, there is no international regulating body for the quality of essential oils in the market. It is, thus, necessary to know your source and the practices they engage in. My own benchmark is the reputation of the brand that I am using. I joined several aromatherapy groups to check out different brands aromatherapists use. I also check if they follow the guidelines set by organizations such as NAHA or AIA; both promote the safe use of essential oils. I also am inclined towards companies that issue a GC/MS report. GC/MS or gas chromatography/mass spectrometry is a report that shows the different chemical constituents of an essential oil and their ranges. The bottom line is to find the company that resonates with you. Test their oil (do not hoard yet) and see if they work for you!
  6. You have to have ALL essential oils. Well, if you are a hoarder and you can afford it, why not? But a lot of essential oils can be a substitute for one another. For example, citrus oils that contain d-limonene have similar therapeutic actions; linalool that can be found in Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) can be found in Ho Wood and Rosewood, and so on. Study your essential oils so that you can maximize using them. 

Essential oils are here to stay, and if you intend to use them regularly to promote your family’s vital energy, it is crucial to know how you can use them effectively yet safely. Learn more about essential oils on my Youtube channel or through different resources on this blog.

Top Essential Oils for Headache

Essential Oils For Headache

Are you looking for top essential oils for headaches?

A headache is something that we have all experienced. In my case, I had severe migraine since I was eight years old. It reached a point where I was hitting my head on the wall because the pain was just too much to bear. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “headaches are the most common disorder of the nervous system, and yet, it is highly underestimated, under-recognized, and under-treated.”

In my case, I didn’t feel the need to tell my parents or go to the doctor, but I have been living on paracetamol since. I never really thought that my headaches would go away. 

Only now have I realized what caused my headaches – my lifestyle was the culprit. When I was younger, it was caused by reading a book in a dim room or in a moving vehicle. When I was working, it was because I lacked sleep on weekdays and overslept on weekends. I also lived on coffee and missed meals, and rarely felt the need to hydrate myself with water. 

As I grew older and became a parent, I sought a healthier lifestyle for our family, like many parents probably do. When I started to overhaul my bad habits, my headaches began to lessen. I hydrated myself often, allowed my body to rest, minimized my caffeine consumption, and ate on time. However, there would be times when my hormones just go haywire, especially during that time of the month, and the headaches would come.

These are my top essential oils for headache:

  1. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Lavender has many known monikers. Some of the most popular ones would be the Swiss Knife of essential oils and the other one, the mother of essential oils. I am personally in love with lavender because it is a versatile oil with many therapeutic benefits. It is also known as an excellent analgesic and can thus be helpful with pain. For example, 92 out of 129 headache attacks were totally or partially alleviated in a placebo-controlled clinical trial when the participants inhaled lavender essential oil for 15 minutes. 
  2. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) – Peppermint is also another widely used essential oil. From being a flavoring agent in gums and foods to being an active ingredient in muscle relaxants, peppermint is an aroma that many are familiar with. In addition, the menthol component of peppermint makes it effective in addressing headaches. In one clinical study, topical application of 10% Peppermint oil alleviated the pain severity of participants who had tension-type headaches. The oil was applied to the forehead and temples after 15 and 30 minutes. The results showed that peppermint oil in this dilution is as effective as taking acetaminophen. Peppermint is one of the prominent essential oils for headaches. Its main component, menthol, is also used in many pain blends. 
  3. German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita) – There are many versions of chamomile; the two most popular ones are German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). This is where knowing the Latin name of the essential oil can be helpful, so you know which chamomile oil to grab. For example, for headaches, the component chamazulene in German Chamomile, when applied topically, has been effective as a pain reliever in migraine without aura
  4. Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) – While there is no clinical research on the use of Frankincense for headaches, there are studies that show how Frankincense essential oil has helped manage stress. In my case (because I always had stress-related headaches), I have often used Frankincense oil diluted in a dollop of aloe gel or carrier oil and massaged it on my neck and temples. 
  5. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) – For headaches caused by sinus congestion, it is best to use 1,8 cineole-rich essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Ravintsara, and the like. Inhaling these oils via a diffuser or personal inhaler can help clear up airways and increase cerebral blood flow. 

Try using some of these oils when you feel like you are coming down with a headache. You can apply two methods of application: inhalation or topical application. Topical application can be combined with inhalation to address tension, stress-related, and cluster headaches. Inhalation via diffusion, steam inhalation, and personal inhalers can be used for headaches caused by stress or sinus congestion.

For adults, you can blend starting at 3% dilution (6 drops of essential oil to 10mL of carrier oil such as VCO or grapeseed oil) up to a maximum of 15% (30 drops of essential oil to 10mL of carrier oil). I also advise you to start low then increase the concentration if the dose does not work. Note that this guideline is for healthy adults without skin hypersensitivity. For children more than two years old, it is best to start at 1% dilution (2 drops of essential oil in 10mL carrier oil). Do not use peppermint and eucalyptus for children below six years old. 

It is best to use these essential oils for headache at the onset of the episode. However, there will be times when these products just won’t cut it. In this case, please do not beat yourself up if you need to take a paracetamol or two. As I always say, essential oils are complementary products to what Western medicine is offering us, and it would not really kill us if we try and marry the two.

Why do you need a certified aromatherapist?

Certified Aromatherapist Philippines Aromatherapy

“Essential oils” is the buzzword of the decade in the health and wellness arena, and even in spiritual groups. There are many free resources crawling in the Internet and in social media groups on how to use essential oils. However, how would you know if these are credible and safe practices? Certified Aromatherapist Balot Del Rosario (yep, that’s me) rounds up some reasons why:

  • The main role of certified aromatherapists is to promote safe and effective use of essential oils.

Well, this is a general statement but this is what we should do. I still see a handful of certified aromatherapists out there who promote indiscriminate use of essential oils. With this I mean, casual ingestion of essential oils and undiluted applications in unnecessary situations. When looking for a certified aromatherapist, it is a PLUS that they are a member of an organisation that promotes safe and effective aromatherapy. There are a handful but the most prominent ones are the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy or Alliance of International Aromatherapists. Aromatherapists who are part of these organisations abide by the code of conduct, maintain professional ethics, and continuously develop their skills.

Check out members of NAHA in the Philippines by clicking on this link>>

  • Certified aromatherapists know the essential oils on a deeper level.

An aromatherapy certification is extensive. Certified aromatherapists study the profiles of essential oils. This includes the chemical constitution of the oils, which includes safety data such as age appropriateness, contraindications, maximum dermal limits and more. As one goes higher in our credentials, (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3), we need to study more essential oils.

Safe formulation is also of utmost importance. When we are dealing with risk groups such as children, pregnant & breastfeeding women, immunocompromised, we need to exercise caution. In these instances, certified aromatherapists don’t rely on general recipes but look into the safety data of their formulations.

  • Certified aromatherapists study anatomy and physiology.

Certified aromatherapists learn about the body and its different mechanisms. We study how the aroma and the chemical constituents of essential oils affect the whole system. This includes the pathways on which delivery is most effective on specific conditions, how long the exposure, and so on. 

 

These are just some of the reasons why you should work with a certified aromatherapist when using essential oils. It could be as simple as consuming the materials they put out for safe and effective oiling, joining their aromatherapy classes, or availing of their formulations.

If you are looking for more resources about aromatherapy, you can check out the following:

YouTube: www.youtube.com/callmebalot

Aromatherapy Posts on the Blog

Holistic Aromatherapy PH Facebook Group

Hope this was helpful, loves! Talk to you soon!

7 things I wish I knew when I started with essential oils

My journey with essential oil education started when I burned my son Santi, who was then 18 months, with Young Living Thieves diluted at 1% for his ringworm. This “protocol” was what I saw in my MLM groups before and not doing any diligent research on essential oils and copying recipes left and right, I unintentionally harmed my baby.

Since then, I have been passionate about educating parents about the safe and effective use of essential oils because I would not want any other parent feeling guilty for harming their children when their intention was only to integrate these wonderful aromatics and therapeutic essential oils into their wellness toolkit.

However, the Internet and social media groups are full of misinformation hinged on essential oil companies trying to sell all their oils and making their users use them indiscriminately. Most safety guidelines are not discussed and so it has been the role of many aromatherapists and aromatherapy organizations like the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) to promote safe and effective aromatherapy.

So just to get you started, I compiled some things I wished I knew when I started using essential oils:

  • Not all essentials oils are safe. 

There are a lot of oils that are not safe for babies. In fact, I highly discourage the use of essential oils on children below one and minimum use for children below two. There are some safer products than essential oils such as hydrosols. P.S. if you are a mom who wants to be empowered on how to use essential oils safely and effectively on your kids, please do watch out for my upcoming workshops.

  • Less is more when it comes to essential oils. 

To paraphrase one of my favorite authors, Robert Tisserand, “While essential oils are natural, their concentration is something that you can not find in nature.” In my practice as an aromatherapist, I have found that a 1% dilution – 2 drops of essential oils in 10mL carrier oil – can already be very powerful as a complementary therapy to certain issues (congestion or insect bites, for example). Always start low and just increase the drops when totally necessary.

  • There is no need to use essential oils all the time. 

Even if my oils are just with me, I don’t use them all the time. Essential oils are still considered xenobiotics. Xenobiotic is a term used to describe chemical substances that are foreign to animal life and thus includes such examples as plant constituents, drugs, pesticides, cosmetics, flavorings, fragrances, food additives, industrial chemicals, and environmental pollutants (Patterson, A., Gonzales, F., Idle, J., 2010) 

It is thus important to be mindful of how the body processes the essential oils and if they are not needed, we are just adding extra load to our internal organs.

  • There is no therapeutic grading for essential oils. 

It’s either 100% essential oil or not. A pure essential oil would deliver its therapeutic benefits based on its chemical composition regardless of the brand. The term “therapeutic grade” is just a marketing term some companies use to imply that their oils are better than others, thus claiming higher pricing. I have seen more affordable pure essential oil brands that delivers the same benefits as other essential oils claiming to be the only “therapeutic-grade oils in the market.

  • Essential oils have shelf-life. 

Contrary to what is being promulgated that essential oils do not go bad, they actually do. Essential oils with lighter molecules such as the ones in the citruses are prone to the process of oxidation. Essential oils that have oxidized may cause (1) skin sensitization; (2) degradation or loss of therapeutic benefits, and/or (3) in some rare cases, turn into a toxic, harmful substance.

  • Essential oils do not have vitamins or minerals. 

Another one of my favorite myths to bust. Lemon essential oil do not contain vitamins that you can see in a lemon. Plain and simple. Let us compare the composition of these two:

This is what you will see in a LEMON JUICE. As you can see below, it contains phenolic acids and Vitamin C.

(Klimek-Szczykutowicz, M., Szopa, A., Ekiert, H., 2020)

Now, this is what you will see in a lemon essential oil from a gas chromatography/mass spectometry report of one of the batch for Plant Therapy essential oils – all chemical constituents, no phenolic acids and certainly, NO VITAMINS AND MINERALS!

So please, if you want the vitamins, just juice some lemon and stay off from putting your essential oils in water because it may cause some gastro-intestinal irritation or damage in the long run.

  • You don’t need to hoard all essential oils. 

Yes, you heard me right! Unless of course you want to and you can use them.

First, a lot of oils can do so many things. Lavender can be used for pain, for anxiety, for sleep, for skin issues and this is the same for many other oils. Know what your oils can do so that you don’t need to always buy.

Second, think about the shelf-life issue I mentioned above. Hoarding them and keeping them stashed thinking they will live forever is waste of your money.

Lastly, think about the plant material that goes into the production of a bottle of essential oil. Just to give you an idea, according to Ecowatch, we use 250lbs of lavender plant to product 1lb of lavender essential oil. If we use too much, more than we really need, we also risk the fast depletion of these plants in nature unless we are sure that there are conservation practices in place.

Soooooo, saying all these, I hope that you learned a thing or two. If you found this helpful, please spread the word and share with your fellow oilers. Let us all practice safe oiling!

References:

Patterson, A., Gonzales, F., Idle, J. (2010). Xenobiotic Metabolism – A View Through the Metabolometer. Chem Res Toxicol. 23(5), 851–860. doi: 10.1021/tx100020p

Klimek-Szczykutowicz, M., Szopa, A., Ekiert, H., (2020). Citrus limon (Lemon) Phenomenon—A Review of the Chemistry, Pharmacological Properties, Applications in the Modern Pharmaceutical, Food, and Cosmetics Industries, and Biotechnological Studies. Plants (Basel). 9(1), 119. doi: 10.3390/plants9010119

Rediscovering my love for computer games

Okay… sooo! I have been feeling pretty burned out over the past few weeks and I know that I have been neck-deep with the different things I do. I know that I have not been getting myself some relaxation and I have promised myself to cut myself some slack in the next few weeks to come.

I really love computer games when I was a kid. I was addicted to the Sims (who wasn’t?!), Age of Empires, Starcraft (eep, I am revealing my age here) –

With our mobile phones, it has been pretty convenient to play games. I loved Plants vs. Zombies, Sim City, and all those restaurant games. I haven’t been playing for a while though stumbling upon plays.org lately was such a joy!

They have a wide range of free and fun online games which can quickly be played from the browser, either from your phone or your laptop! I explored some of the games and it was very nostalgic!

Here are some of the games I tried! *hope I don’t get addicted to these, haha*

The first game I tried is of course a simulation game that’s patterned after Sim City. It’s called Lego Build & Protect. I love this game so much as it combines cute lego structures (which my kids and husband love assembling) and creating a city! Check out in this video below:

The second one I tried is called Penguin Cafe and is a restaurant game which is similar to the ones I have played before! It is also soo exciting to see soo many food games on this site!

Here’s a sneak peek of their site but best to check them out, really, so that you can see if the games you love are there, too!

Something that I probably want would be some plant games which I haven’t seen yet although Plays.org add games every month so definitely excited for new games to come!

Have you come across this website yet? Check it out and share with me your experience about it!

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